What Is the Best Medication for Cold Sores on Lips?

cold sore medication

Cold sores are a common viral infection of the lips and mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus. They can be unsightly, painful, and just plain annoying. At some point in their lives, over 3.7 billion people will suffer from cold sores on their lips.

While most people have at least some familiarity with cold sores, many don’t know how to treat them. In this article, we’ll cover some general tips for managing your discomfort with cold sore medication. Read on to learn more.

Antiviral Medication for Cold Sores

The most common medications for cold sores are acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These medications work by blocking the activity of a protein called viral DNA polymerase, which is required for the replication of the herpes simplex virus.

When you take an antiviral medication to treat a cold sore infection, the medication stops or slows down this process and prevents further growth of the virus.

Home Remedies for Treating Cold Sores on Your Lips

Prescriptions are usually required to purchase cold sore medications that contain an antiviral agent. If you need immediate pain and swelling control, start off with an ice pack.

Ice will bring down swelling and reduce pain, as well as keep bacteria from spreading. Apply an ice cube wrapped in a thin towel for 20 minutes at a time as needed throughout the day.

If there is no swelling or redness around your cold sore, then dab a small amount of petroleum jelly on it every few hours to help keep the area moisturized and prevent cracking.

Many people find that the best cold sore medication in your kitchen is honey. It has a similar effect as acyclovir but is less potent. Applying it to your cold sore every day will help speed up the healing process and soothe itching.

Never Touch Your Cold Sore

Touching your cold sore will increase the risk of spreading the virus to other people. To keep your hands clean, wash them with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching your lips.

When treating a breakout, avoid touching any other areas of your face so that you don’t spread it elsewhere on your body.

How Long Does a Cold Sore Last?

Cold sores typically last for 7-10 days. They usually start with tingling, itching, or burning on your lip. Once the blisters appear, they tend to go through various stages of development until they finally heal completely.

Get Cold Sore Medication Online

The best way to treat cold sores is by using an antiviral medication, but you’ll need a physician’s prescription to get one of these. But there’s no need to make a trip to the doctor, where you’ll probably run into people who will find your swollen lip unsightly. At Swell Clinic, we provide virtual sexual wellness services for those who want to heal in private.

Reach out to one of our medical professionals for advice on the right cold sore medication.

PrEP for Women: What You Need to Know About HIV Prevention

PrEP for Women

PrEP for women is a powerful HIV prevention tool that anyone, including women, can use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV infection. It’s used before and after exposure to the virus, making it an ideal form of protection for women at high risk for HIV infection.

You may have heard of PrEP for HIV before but don’t know much about it. Our guide will fill you in on what you need to know about PrEP and its benefits.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a new(ish) HIV prevention tool that anyone, including women, can use. PrEP is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a daily medicine that can be taken by people who do not have HIV to prevent infection.

Here are some reasons women consider taking PrEP, including:

  • You are in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner
  • You are not in a monogamous relationship
  • You have multiple sexual partners
  • You have recently been diagnosed with another STI via STD testing

With this information, it’s time to discover the benefits of PrEp and how it works for those that take it.

How Does PrEP Work?

PrEP works by protecting your cells from HIV infection. The PrEP medication consists of two drugs, tenofovir, and emtricitabine. These work together keeps HIV cells from replicating themselves.

PrEP is taken before and after exposure to HIV.

PrEP is not a vaccine, so it does not prevent you from getting other STIs. It is important to remember that PrEP should be used with other prevention methods such as condoms.

One thing we have to say is PrEP doesn’t cure HIV if you’ve contracted it. It is strictly a measure used as a prevention tool.

PrEp is Not For…

PrEP is not for women with an HIV status that is unknown to them. As mentioned above, it’s a medication that should be used only for women that are currently HIV-negative.

Do you have decreased kidney function? Be sure to talk to your doctor about this before starting PrEP. PrEP may not be for you then.

Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? PrEP is not recommended for use during these two life events. When you seek herpes treatment, this medication might be an option your doctor recommends.

How to Get It?

The only way to get PrEP is through a prescription by a licensed doctor. Before going to your appointment, don’t forget to research the medication.

This way, you can be an active participant in your own care.

PrEP for Women: A Useful Guide

If you think PrEP for women is right for you, please let us help.

Are you ready to discuss things with a trained medical professional and determine if taking PrEP is an option for you? Book an appointment with Swell Clinic because we specialize in virtual sexual wellness and health.

Take back control of your sexual health and life today.

 

Are There False-Positive HIV Tests? Why?

false-positive HIV

The CDC recommends that Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 should get HIV tested at least once in their lifetimes. With that being said, many are wary of getting a false-positive HIV test result.

But do HIV tests really give false-positive tests? Why do they happen and what should you do once you get a false-positive test?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about false-positive results for HIV tests.

What is an HIV Test?

As you might have guessed, an HIV test examines whether or not you have contracted the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. There are three common types of HIV tests that are regularly used.

One is a nucleic acid test or NAT. It involves drawing blood from the patient to see how present the virus is in their system.

Another type of HIV test is an antigen/antibody test which searches for both antigens and antibodies in a person’s system. These are laboratory tests that also involve drawing blood.

There are also rapid antibody tests that detect antibodies for HIV in your blood or oral fluid. These rapid tests work best when using blood drawn from the veins as opposed to oral fluids or from a finger prick.

So are False-Positive HIV Tests Possible?

The short answer to whether you can get a false-positive HIV test is: yes, but it depends on the circumstance. There are several causes for false-positive tests. This involves both the timing and the type of test.

After someone contracts HIV, there is a window period for when a test can accurately detect the virus in the body. A person doesn’t produce antibodies to fight the infection right away, hence this grace period.

In other words, someone can test too early for HIV and get a false-negative or false-positive. 

As mentioned before, you can get both an HIV lab test and a rapid, at-home test kit. The problem with rapid tests that we mentioned earlier is that many use oral fluids or blood from a finger prick.

These testing methods have been known to produce false-positives. While self-testers aren’t necessarily less accurate, the method by which you collect the sample affects the end result.

Some have reported getting a false-positive for HIV since they’ve contracted another STD or STI. As such, you should get STD testing done on top of your HIV testing just to be sure.

So What Should You Do?

If you are worried about a false-positive result, the best way to obtain peace of mind is through further testing. Testing for HIV often means testing more than once with the right time frame in mind produce better results. 

Make sure you get a test done after giving yourself enough time after potential exposure. That way, you won’t risk getting another false-positive.

Prep for HIV Testing

Getting a false-positive HIV test result is always a possibility, but they are avoidable. Use this guide to help you understand how they occur and find the right methods to get the most accurate HIV test result.

Are you looking for reliable STD testing or herpes treatment? Contact us today and we’ll get you started on a solution right away!

Genital Herpes: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

genital herpes

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 570,000 new cases of genital herpes each year in the US. While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are ways to prevent the spread. Realizing you have genital herpes may make you feel ashamed, but you shouldn’t.

We want you to feel safe in understanding and treating this sexually transmitted infection. We will go over what causes genital herpes and what the symptoms are. We will also help you through the diagnosis process and treatment options.

Read on to learn more about a genital herpes diagnosis.

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes (or Herpes simplex virus type 2, HSV-2) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is contagious. This infection causes painful blisters on the genitals. These symptoms can clear up and return later.

HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. It can be transferred to the genitals through oral sex. It is often spread through saliva when kissing someone with open sores.

HSV-2 is a common virus found in about 13% of the world’s population. HSV-1 is found in around 67% of people around the globe.

Causes

HSV-1 and HSV-2 enter the body through mucous membranes and broken skin. Once the virus has entered your body, it mixes with your cells.

HSV spreads via vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone infected with the virus. You can also get HSV from close contact with someone who has open sores. It is also transferred in bodily fluids.

Symptoms

Many people infected with HSV don’t know they have it. Signs and symptoms may not be present or may be mild. If you have symptoms they will appear 2-12 weeks after exposure.

Common genital herpes symptoms include:

  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Small red bumps or white blisters
  • Ulcers from ruptured blisters
  • Scabs can form as the ulcers heal
  • Blisters around the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches, body aches, or fever
  • Diagnosis

You should talk to your healthcare provider if you suspect you have genital herpes. Your doctor will be able to give you a genital herpes diagnosis by looking at or testing the sores if they are there. If not, they can take a blood test for diagnosis.

There are even options to get tested right from your own home. Swell Clinic will set up a virtual consultation with a licensed medical provider. They will work with you on the best plan of care for your situation.

Treatment

There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are treatment options for those who have this STI. Suppression therapy uses antiviral medications to speed up the healing time of an outbreak. You should take these at the first signs of a herpes outbreak.

Other ways to ease outbreaks from home are to keep the affected area clean and dry. Use warm water and mild cleansers during an outbreak. You can also take anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain.

Book an Appointment Today

If you are presenting with symptoms of genital herpes, don’t wait to make an appointment. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely you are to spread this virus to others.

Book a virtual appointment with us today to discuss your symptoms and treatment for genital herpes.

Women and HIV: Are Women Less Likely to Have HIV?

women and HIV

Did you know that 23% of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV are women?

This might surprise many readers who see HIV as being a gay man’s disease. However, that just isn’t true. Also, there’s a big difference in the ways HIV impacts women specifically. 

Read on to get accurate, helpful information about women and HIV.

HIV Facts: Demographics Matter

The number of new HIV cases among women in the US is on the decline. Yet race, age, and other demographics mean that some groups are disproportionately impacted more than others. 

Ethnicity 

African-American women are especially affected by HIV. This group accounts for six of every ten new HIV cases among women.

For African-American women, the rate of HIV diagnosis was 14 times that of white women in the US. For Latinas, it was three times that of white women.

Globally, indigenous communities experience high rates of HIV. There are substantial disparities in HIV rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in various countries.

Age

HIV affects women of every age but especially women in their middle years and older.

In 2018, women aged 45 and older accounted for 36% of new HIV diagnoses. That’s twice the proportion of women under 25 years old.

Transgender Women

Trans women are affected by HIV to a much greater degree than other groups.

In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that the proportion of trans women living with HIV is 49 times higher than in the general adult population.

Is HIV Transmission More Common for Women?

The most common mode of HIV transmission is sex which involves vaginal and penis interaction. In other words, heterosexual sex. 

It’s important to note that HIV is twice as easily passed from an infected man to a woman as the other way around. More than 8 of every 10 women living with HIV got it from sex with a person with a penis. 

Sharing syringes for injecting drugs is another common mode of transmission.

Unfortunately, there are serious gynecological issues that impact women living with HIV. 

Gynecological Issues in Women Living With HIV

When we discuss women and HIV, we must discuss the gynecological issues at stake. 

Certain gynecological conditions are more common, more serious, and/or more difficult to treat in women living with HIV than those who are HIV-negative.

These include the following:

  • Vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis
  • Genital herpes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 

Click here to learn about where to go for affordable STD testing in the US. 

Let’s Keep Talking About Women and HIV

We hope the facts in this article highlight how important it is to continue to have conversations about women and HIV.

Until we remove the stigma around this virus, countless individuals will continue to be negatively impacted.

At the Swell Clinic, we provide professional and discreet sexual wellness and healthcare in a convenient virtual environment. 

Contact us today to book your simple, non-judgmental virtual appointment.

How Do You Get Affordable STD Testing in the US?

Whether you’re it’s for HIV, chlamydia, or other common diseases, the CDC recommends that Americans regularly get tested for STDs. But finding places that not only provide STD testing but provide affordable ones can be tough.

So how do you find affordable STD testing? Where do you look for STD testing that won’t break your bank?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about how you can find affordable sexually transmitted disease testing.

Places to Find Affordable STD Testing

Luckily for those who want to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, there are plenty of places to choose from. Which one you end up going to depends on accessibility as well as your overall preferences.

Finding the best affordable STD testing option requires a bit of research. You might have to keep your ears and eyes open on the internet to find the best option for you. 

In any case, there are a plethora of great options for those looking for cheap STD testing. Let’s break down different STD testing options to see gauge which ones are more affordable than others:

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is an excellent place for those looking for affordable testing to see their STI status. The best part is that Planned Parenthood scales its fees since they’re partially funded by the government.

This means those with lower incomes can pay less for a test, or not at all in some cases. There are also many different locations around the country to choose from.

Other Non-Profit Organizations

There are also plenty of other non-profit organizations that focus on providing safe, affordable, and reliable STD testing services. These non-profits generally provide tests for a whole host of relevant STDs.

Many non-profits receive grants or government funding, so they either don’t charge their patients much or provide tests for free. Search for non-profit clinics near you to see if there are any in your area.

Mobile Clinics

Mobile clinics that offer STD testing are becoming more and more common in the U.S. These clinics are designed to offer services to those who can’t access traditional healthcare services, so they tend to be rather cheap.

Keep your eyes out on social media or on Google to search for mobile clinics. They’re much more common than one might think.

University Health Centers

If you’re a student who wants to be tested for various STDs but can’t make it to a health clinic or afford a doctor’s visit, you may be able to contact your school’s health center. Their services are often a part of your tuition.

More and more colleges are taking STDs seriously, so your clinic is bound to have tests for diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Health Departments

Many cities and municipalities receive funding from the state or federal government to provide affordable STD testing for citizens. Looking up whether our local health departments offer these services is worth a shot.

Finding the Best STD Testing Option

Affordable STD testing is a vital part of modern medical care. Use this guide to help you find the best possible option for your financial needs.

Looking for affordable and judge-free STD testing services? Contact us today and we’ll provide a solution for you ASAP!